My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God. (Psalm 84:2 NIV)
One of my favorite places to explore is the dictionary. The old-fashioned, flip through the pages dictionary provides side trips into unexpected word worlds. The internet dictionary aids me in quick searches and ready access to word origins.
This week I was pondering the word: explore. Literally in the dictionary and in real life. I tend to equate explore with activity, which includes searching and learning about something new. And it does mean that. But as I dug into the definition, I began to ask myself:
“Why does this word intrigue me?”
I wrote out several of its meanings in my journal, focusing on the infinitive verbs used to describe it. To look, to talk or think about, to learn by trying. These three nuances relate to the process I experience as an explorer.
When I explore a topic, I look at it. I observe. Then I think about it or maybe talk about it with someone else. I brainstorm the topic and begin to arrive at conclusions. Once, I finish the first two steps, I choose to engage with the topic, learn about it by experience.
Very practical insights, yet I wanted to check out its root meaning. From the Latin roots the word means “to cry out.” Whoa! I hadn’t expected that. But it makes sense. When I’m exploring, I am looking for an answer. I like answers. I want answers.
As I thought about the origins of explore, the phrase “to cry out” made me think of prayer and the psalms. When I’m exploring something new or maybe even something familiar, like say my faith, I am crying out for understanding. I want answers. And the funny thing is that my answer comes in person.
God hears the cry of my heart. I ask myself what does this all mean, all the time. And then, He answers is various ways. I read a devotion, and a phrase speaks to me:
The fact that I AM WITH YOU makes every moment of life meaningful.
(Jesus Calling, Sarah Young)
He answers me over a cup of coffee . . .
in the pages of my journal . . .
He prompts me to look at the sky, while I am resting in my car between appointments.
To notice the reflection of my canvas in the family room window . . .
I see His smile as I witness others create and find joy with paint . . .
And at the end of the week, I see Jesus in the midst of family and friends making pizzas and memories . . .
Being an explorer sharpens my perspective. I see things NEW. Even old, familiar things like my faith, my family, my friends and my surroundings.
Here’s a prompt to consider: How do you see Jesus showing up, as you explore this life, in light of His words and His creation?